As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
–Matthew 3: 16 – 17 NIV
Jesus began his ministry in surrender to God by being baptized, “to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt 3:15) When Jesus came to John the Baptist, John had already prepared the way. John was preaching and baptizing people as they confessed their sins. When Jesus came to John, he didn’t understand. John thought Jesus should baptize him, not the other way around. When Jesus explained in verse 15, John realized his sacred role in Jesus’ ministry.
We all have our sacred roles. Even though John was preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” (Matt 3:2) he didn’t know the full extent of God’s plan. I understand how John felt. Many times God gives me a glimpse of the plan so I can start the prep work. That works for me. It’s part of the waiting process. I’d rather be preparing the way than idly waiting.
I know that God has a plan for my writing to be published. He has given me talent which has birthed into a dream. That dream has been confirmed over the eight years of preparation that it took me to complete my first novel. Sometimes I think that getting my novel published is selfish and just my own dream. That’s usually when God speaks to me and confirms that it’s His dream, too.
What I have yet to realize is–preparation is only the beginning. Kinda scary. The prep work has a foreseeable end in sight. I’m about a third of the way through polishing my novel. Then what? I’m great at the prep work. After all, it took me eight years to shape this novel. I’ve honed in on what works for me.
When Jesus came to be baptized, John immediately thought he was unworthy. I can relate. I have sent out several queries, but the rejections were always justified by the excuse, “Well, my novel isn’t quite finished yet, so that’s OK.” Now things are starting to feel real. I’m attending the ACFW national conference this month! I’ll have to pitch my novel to editors and agents. I’m entering unknown territory.
God encouraged me in two ways through this scripture passage.
- Prepare the way: I have only a few weeks left to make sure all my preparations are in order. Time to get cracking.
- This is the Beginning: I’m finally at the beginning of my ministry. This is it. No matter what happens at conference, my writing ministry has begun. All of the preparation has led me to this moment.
I still have no idea what’s going to happen next. And that’s pretty scary. But I’m relying on God, and that feels pretty good. He’ll never steer us wrong. 🙂